Losing weight is hard, but maintaining the weight you have already lost is even a bigger challenge. The majority of people who shed a large chunk of weight gained it back within 2 to 3 years.
Fortunately, there are many lifestyle changes that can help you manage your weight. However, it is important to know that weight management is more about making positive, long-lasting changes rather than following a temporary diet.
Healthy lifestyle changes are important to ensure lasting weight loss as well as a long and healthy life. When you cultivate healthier habits, you will not only be able to maintain your weight but also enjoy the benefits of adopting a healthier lifestyle.
So, if you are planning to shed weight, it might be helpful to concentrate on weight management and your general health rather than what you weigh. Putting all your attention on the number on the scale (instead of adjusting your eating habits) can lead to failure.
One mistake a lot of people make is thinking that weight-control activities are no longer needed once they achieve their desired weight. The truth is, losing weight is just half the battle when it comes to achieving a healthier weight. The remaining half is to keep doing all those behaviors that made you shed weight.
10 Habits From Ideal Protein Phase 1 to Carry into Maintenance Phase
1. Eating 4 Cups (or More) of Veggies Per Day
According to the USDA, an average adult needs to take at least 3 cups of veggies daily to obtain essential nutrients, such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help nourish, energize, and protect the body.
Consuming a lot of veggies will help reduce the amount of calorie-rich foods you take – especially the sugary processed ones that can make you feel hungrier.
Try to make lower-calorie versions of your best dishes by swapping higher-calorie ingredients for lower-calorie vegetables and fruits. Vegetables contain water and fiber, which help bulk up your dishes, allowing you to consume the same amount of food, but with fewer calories. Usually, vegetables contain a low amount of fat and calories and fill you up.
Checkout our Ideal Protein recipe cookbooks for tasty vegetable recipe ideas.
2. Consuming an Adequate Amount of Protein Daily
Protein plays a critical role in muscle synthesis, which promotes weight loss by increasing lean mass to naturally improve body metabolism. Protein also makes you feel full, reducing the chances of overeating and lowering calorie consumption.
Protein Promotes Muscle Growth
One of the benefits of consuming protein is that it can help grow, build, and repair muscle mass. Losing fat and gaining muscle mass boost metabolism, enabling your body to burn more calories even while at rest.
Protein Controls Hunger Hormones
Certain hormones control hunger and satiety in the body. They include cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), peptide YY (PYY), gut neuropeptides that promote satiety, as well as ghrelin, which induces appetite.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that taking a protein dense diet increases the levels of satiating hormones (CCK, PYY, and GLP-1) and lower ghrelin level, which can help regulate appetite and food intake
Protein Offers More Satiety
Another thing that makes protein intake great for weight loss and maintenance is that it satiates.
Protein has proven to offer greater satiety than fat and carbohydrates in both the long and short term, according to data published in the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care.
Research has also found a link between reduced hunger rates and higher consumption of essential amino acids, which are amino acids that need to be obtained from the diet, i.e., tryptophan, threonine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, etc.
3. Providing Your Body with Enough Nutrients Throughout the Day
The human body is designed to see a lack of food as starvation. So, when you miss meals or go without food for a long period of time, your body reduces the rate at which it burns calories, resulting in lower amounts of calories burned over time.
On the other hand, eating food regularly provides the body with energy. According to a study in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition, people who eat regular meals have healthier diets overall. This study also indicated that consuming regular meals lowers the intake of sugary beverages and fast foods and increases the consumption of vegetables and fruit.
Also, it’s more difficult for us to make good food choices when hungry. Imagine going to the store when you are famished. Are you likely to go for a piece of vegetable or fruits or those chocolate bars and crisp packets strategically placed at the checkout counter?
Since our bodies follow a daily rhythm (circadian rhythm), studies have shown that maintaining a regular meal schedule is important, as this will allow the body to create a meal clock and obtain enough nutrients from food. When you have a regular schedule for your meals, your body can adjust its metabolism for more efficiency based on its ‘meal clock.’
Also, the body makes different types of hormones when you consume food, but disordered or poor eating habits, such as binge eating or overeating, can disrupt the body’s meal clock and interfere with the production of important hormones like insulin. This can cause diseases like diabetes and raise your chances of being obese because of your body’s attempt to store energy. Therefore, irregular eating can increase fat storage in the body, and going a long time between meals might lead to hypoglycemia. Eating uncontrollably because of hunger afterward can also impact insulin production, resulting in unstable blood glucose levels, which have been linked to a wide range of diseases.
The important thing is to eat enough food: Not consuming an adequate amount of food can prevent your body from getting enough fuel and essential nutrients, which can affect your metabolism, health, and hormones, causing weight gain.
4. Drinking Plenty of Water
Whether you are trying to shed weight or maintain it, it’s always good to drink a lot of water. Water can make you feel full, especially when taken before eating and when you are hungry. It also has zero calories and can ensure excellent performance during exercise. Long-term evidence also indicates that water can help promote and maintain weight loss.
A vast majority of Americans don’t take an adequate amount of water per day, which makes our bodies crave more food at the end of the day. Drinking plenty of water will prevent you from taking in unnecessary calories. Research has also shown that increasing your daily water intake can help improve your metabolism, making it easier for your body to maintain weight. So, drink more water every day to feel fuller and save yourself from calories that you don’t need.
Since water is free of calories, it can help you lose/maintain weight. Drinking water instead of fruit juice, sugary drinks, and calories-laden booze can significantly lower the amount of calories you’re consuming per day. We all know that drinking or eating satiating foods helps cut down the amount of food you take and, consequently, your calorie consumption. Studies have also shown that taking water makes you feel more full and prevents hunger.
5. Staying Away From Unhealthy Liquid Calories
For effective weight maintenance, it is also good to reduce the amount of liquid calories you take. A lot of Americans only measure the calories they receive from solid foods, and some don’t even know how liquid calories are finding their way into their diet and preventing them from achieving their weight goals.
Although soda is a common source of liquid calories, Americans also obtain loads of unnecessary calories from energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice, fruit drinks, sweetened coffee beverages, and sweetened teas. As a matter of fact, sweetened drinks are the largest source of added-sugar calories in the US diet.
6. Cooking at Home
Home-made food is usually healthier than fast food. Think about all the fried foods you might be tempted to eat while in a restaurant. But at home, you are less likely to prepare your food using such an unhealthy cooking method.
According to studies, people who prepare most of their food at home tend to consume fewer carbs, less fat, and less sugar than those who cook once in a while or not all at.
Cooking at home will also enable you to control the parts of your meal that often contain hidden calories, such as added sauces and added oils.
Portion control is essential for successful weight loss, and many restaurants are not helping in this regard, as they offer a large portion of food, making customers eat way more than they normally would. But when consuming home-cooked food, you are less likely to pile up your
plate. Besides, there are a lot of strategies that help prevent overeating when you cook at home.
For example, you may decide to use a smaller plate and keep additional helpings where it will be difficult for you to see them.
7. Meal Prepping
When you plan your meals ahead of time, you will be able to make healthier food choices compared to when you are hungry.
The amount of time spent on home-food preparation has also been linked to increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and salads. Also, meal-prepping can help you obtain all the important nutrients from foods without being overstuffed. Another advantage of planning meals in advance is that it allows you to use various ingredients and put together a more balanced plate of food, making you feel full and satisfied.
Meal prepping can also help you maintain weight, as it enables you to achieve portion control – especially if you cook in batches. Since you determine the ingredients and cooking methods to be used (unlike fast food meals), you can divide your meals into portions and only eat what you need to meet your daily nutrition needs.
Read up our complete meal prepping guide here.
8. Paying Attention to Labels
Knowing what’s inside the foods you consume can help you make healthy choices. By reading labels, you can easily compare the nutrients in different food options and choose the right one for you. Remember that a healthy diet is essential for long-term wellbeing, and checking nutrition labels is a great step toward achieving this.
Nutrition labels usually include important information, such as calories, saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol, vitamins, carbohydrates, and protein. You will also find a list of the ingredients in the food, and all this information can help you meet your daily nutrition needs.
9. Journaling Your Food Intake
For weight maintenance, you should also monitor your intake as you did when trying to lose weight. It is important to keep track of your habits to prevent weight regain. Keeping a daily record of your food and drinks can help you monitor what you eat so you don’t return to your old, unhealthy habits.
Although it can be difficult in the beginning, tracking your intake allows you to better understand how much food you’re eating and the quality of the food.
When you write down every food or drink you take, you become accountable for your eating, and this may help you monitor good habits and figure out bad ones that you need to change.
Aside from helping you discover what you’re doing wrong, keeping a food log also lets you know what you are doing right, so you can continue doing it. Whether you are drinking plenty of water or consuming more veggies, journaling can help reinforce these good habits.
Diet and food habits are difficult to change, so it’s crucial to celebrate every little progress you make. Recording your food intake will help you celebrate these wins, and thinking about your success can motivate you to stay on track.
Keeping a food log will make it easier for you to notice patterns. Sometimes, the things we think are unrelated to our diet are more related than we might think.
For example, being tired in the afternoon, feeling hungry mid-morning, and experiencing cravings at night – can influence what, when, where, and how we eat. Maybe you eat little for breakfast, and that’s the reason you are finding it difficult to wait till lunchtime, or maybe your lunch contains too many carbohydrates, making you crave sweet foods in the afternoon. Whatever the reason might be, having a food log can enable you to notice these patterns so that you can change them.
10. Having Self-accountability/Taking Care of Yourself
When you are accountable to yourself, you will be able to see what needs to be changed and take steps toward achieving this without waiting for a diet coach, friend, or other people to tell you what’s happening. Being accountable also allows you to draw your attention to mistakes and wrong steps you might take. Additionally, having self-accountability means taking full responsibility for your actions and choices.
Practicing self-care involves taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. When you engage in self-care activities, you are placing the responsibility of caring for your mind, body, and spirit in your hands.
The benefits of taking care of yourself are many and have even been associated with positive health outcomes, including higher productivity, increased self-esteem, reduced stress, and improved immune system.
Weight maintenance is as important as weight loss. Without proper diet transition and weight management, your overweight will come back with your old habits. This is why Ideal Protein puts equal emphasis on all 3 of the phases and dieters spend more time in the Maintenance phase.
If you are struggling to keep the weight off and/or have gained back weight after the diet, our Ideal Protein Reset program would be the perfect suit for you. Set up a FREE consultation with our coaches to learn how the program can help you with lasting results.